Quitters: Why I Quit Cleaning My House

I have a secret. But I can tell you, right? I know you won’t judge.

Last spring, I quit cleaning my house.

It began as a way to quell my ever-mounting, pre-wedding stress. How in the hell was I supposed to plan a wedding, work full-time, do Hey Eleanor almost full-time, exercise, cook, be an awesome partner, friend and dog mom…. and keep my house clean?

I couldn’t pay someone to go to work for me, and I wasn’t going to pay someone to plan my entire wedding (though a wedding planner was hugely helpful). The cleaning my house thing? I could pay someone to do that.

So I did. And I freaking loved it.

For the two months leading up to my June wedding, we hired a company to clean every other week. They do the normal stuff, like wash the floors, clean the stovetop, but also things I never, ever got around to doing, like sweeping my front entry way, vacuuming the couch and washing the baseboards. Plus, they make the beds like you live in a hotel (my dream!).

Initially, I was pretty ashamed of it.

Just who do I think I am?! Paying someone to clean my house for me?! Isn’t that just a thing everyone should be doing themselves. I’m certainly not incapable of it in any way.

But I loved coming home to a tidy and CLEAN house that smelled like Pine Sol. This is especially great when you have a cat, dog and two humans sharing a 1,200 sq foot space. So much crap and hair everywhere! It’s hard to keep up.

The wedding came and went. And guess what?

I never cancelled the cleaners.

You’d think when I quit my job and started working for myself (making waaaay less money), that would’ve been the first thing to go. But no. I cut back on going out, buying clothes and fueling up my car. But the money we spend on a cleaning service is worth every cent. Here’s why.

1. Less Distractions in My New Office

Since I’m now working at home, I’m extra tuned in to my surroundings. Dust bunnies in the hallway? I drop everything and start sweeping. Food-speckled stove? I stop writing and spend 40 minutes chiseling away. Between emails, phone calls and my needy dog, I have enough distractions as it is without getting sucked into a cleaning project. With a bi-weekly thorough clean, there’s less to throw me off my game. Plus, I have an easier time letting things go– the rug might need vacuuming, but the cleaners are coming tomorrow, so who cares! I can leave it.

2. Less Irritations in My Relationship

Josh and I really do share duties around the house. He’s so helpful and handy! That said, he works full-time, is getting his masters and also falls victim to filthy home blindness… which is to say, he doesn’t always ‘see’ what I see. Therefore, I end up cleaning quite a bit more than he does. Having a little extra help with the deep cleaning stuff (for example, scrubbing the tub/toilet) makes it easier to keep the house clean, which means there’s less filth for me to see and him to ignore. It’s just nice.

As an aside, I initially felt really guilty that I couldn’t keep up with cleaning our small-ish apartment. When I finally voiced that to Josh, he said, “That’s exactly how I feel every time we hire a plumber or handyman to do a job I know I could do myself, but don’t always have time for.” I thought he was secretly thinking I was lazy. Nope. Just busy, like everyone else.

3. I Simply Don’t Clean That Well

I don’t know if this is 100 percent true, but I just don’t think I’m that good at cleaning. Maybe it’s just that things almost always seem cleaner when someone else does it. Who knows!

4. Time.

I’m not an efficient cleaner, at all. It would take me 12 hours to do what our cleaners do in 3. Truly. Not to mention the fact that it can become a black hole. I’ll be dusting my dresser and next thing you know, I’ve got all of my clothes pulled out of it and am in the midst of giant organization project. An organized dresser is great, but did I really need to do that right now? Probably not.

So there, I said it. I am a 32-year-old woman who works from home and pays someone else to clean it. It’s fabulous.

* * *

What’s your [sorta] guilty pleasure that makes your life so much better? AND speaking of tidiness, part of the reason I hired a cleaning lady is because Elizabeth Dehn told me to. The gal knows her stuff. And here’s an example of a small cleaning task that turned into a major closet purge. Sometimes getting rid of stuff feels oh-so-good.

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Comments (8)

  • Annie Payseur 2 years ago Reply

    I have thought about this for a long time, so thanks for your perspective! May I ask who/what service you use? Have you used them the whole time, or did you ever switch vendors?

    molly mogren katt 2 years ago Reply

    We’re currently with two women who run their own independent business & are 100 percent completely booked. However, we also tried Reliable Twin Cleaning (http://www.reliabletwincleaning.com/), who did a great job BUT there was a major snafu the first time they came here… we own a duplex and they accidentally cleaned the DOWNSTAIRS instead of our place (it’s actually a pretty funny story… for us, anyway). The next day, the same team had to come back and clean our place at no additional cost to us, which I think fostered some animosity from their cleaning team. Oopsies.

    I’ve heard Two Betty’s are great & they use all green products (if you care about that kind of thing!).

  • Kathy B. 2 years ago Reply

    I have had my house cleaned for years and I am not ashamed to admit it! I, too, don’t think I am a very good cleaner and besides I don’t really like to clean. Every other Friday when I come home from work the house smells fresh and looks great. What a great way to start the weekend.

    molly mogren katt 2 years ago Reply

    Yes! You can’t underestimate how good a clean home can make you feel!

  • Heather Liedl 2 years ago Reply

    This post may have pushed us over the edge to hire a cleaning service. Aaron has been wanting to do it for a while but for all the reasons you were "ashamed" of, I’ve hesitated too. But let’s be honest, the deeper cleaning just doesn’t get done around here! Thanks for the post & I’m glad you are loving your decision.

    molly mogren katt 2 years ago Reply

    LOVE IT! DO IT! It’s like a massage for your brain.

  • Paige 2 years ago Reply

    Once my income is steady the first thing I’m doing is hiring a cleaner. It’s been my plan for years. So excited to hear that it’s working for you. I feel even more resolved now.

  • Kathryn 2 years ago Reply

    I also have a cleaner. About five years ago I went to Florida for a long weekend. It was so wonderfully relaxing to just sit by the pool and wander around town and do whatever I wanted, I started thinking "why couldn’t my real life be a calm and peaceful as this?" As soon as I got home, I worked hard on reducing stress. I hired a cleaner, and cancelled all my magazine subscriptions because they were piling up into stacks of guilt when I didn’t get to reading them. My cleaner saves me so much time and lets me spend my weekends doing what I enjoy rather than cleaning my house.

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